Due to my attention/anxiety issues, I almost always have music going in the background. It makes it easier to ignore errant or intrusive thoughts if I have music playing. As I’ve gotten into podcasts, I’ve found myself doing the opposite, finding something to play in the foreground so I can pay attention to my podcast since I’d almost always wind up browsing twitter or something on my phone if I don’t have something to do with my eyes and hands when I’m listening to a podcast. As a result of this habit, I’ve discovered a special moment I treasure whenever it happens.
Very occasionally, when I’m doing my mixed media thing, something will penetrate the haze of whatever I’m focusing on and completely steal my attention away. Even if its a song or podcast episode I’ve heard before, no matter how many times, it will always capture my attention. It will wash over me like the tide on the beach, eventually sinking me in the emotion of the moment as whatever I was doing fades away and my entire being is caught up in the ebb and flow of this thing.
One of my favorites is from The Adventure Zone season 1, Episode 59 (which is my most repeated podcast due to familiarity, power of storytelling, and the kickass music) when Griffin McElroy’s song, “Assault on the Moon Base,” comes in behind his description of the scene as it plays out. It gets a visceral reaction from me, even if I’m caught up in reading text in a video game or engaged in a boss fight. It always pulls me away from what I’m doing as my attention shifts because of the powerful feeligns the music evokes.
Another example is any time the GM of Friends At The Table, Austin Walker, puts on his narator voice for whatever game he’s running. It took me a while to tune into it, since the voice changes pretty frequently (depending on the season, the game, or the point in the season because sometimes the narrator changes from one episode to another), but now, whenever I hear it, I instantly tune back into the episode I’m listening to, no matter what else is going on around me. I have lost boss fights because I lost focus halfway through it, but I have no regrets because it was worth it every single time. It’s easy to redo a boss fight. Having to re-listen to a podcast episode kinda kills the momentum.
Another one from Friends At The Table is any time the music in the season hits the season’s theme. The composer (and player) Jack de Quidt does an amazing job of running a theme through the music of the season I’ve now spent the most time listening to (Season 4, Twilight Mirage) and every time it comes up in an intro, an outro, or one of the songs in the background of a moment, it will sweep me away as whatever else I was doing fades into non-existence.
It would be annoying, if it weren’t so wonderful.